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Opinion

Readers React: California needs more donated dog blood. Does state law prevent that?

DAVIS CA APRIL 22, 2019 -- Animal health technician Sasha Hickman-Beoshanz works with blood drawn
Bags of dog blood are stored at the UC Davis Veterinary Hospital as part of a volunteer donation program.
(David Butow / For The Times)

To the editor: I don’t have the answer to the canine blood donor issue in California, where the two lone commercial blood banks in the state are allowed to operate in virtual secrecy.

But I do know, from experience, that prompt access to reliable canine blood is a priority. So I hope that is helped by any possible legislation.

Exactly a year ago, my 14-month-old dog was stricken with a disease that was killing off her red blood cells. She ended up with three blood transfusions (at great expense). That, along with some drugs, saved her. If this disease had struck one of my 12-year-old dogs, I might have passed on the treatment.

Yes, one wants every available treatment there is, and that might mean canine blood. I’m grateful to whatever sweet dogs donated blood for my Maisie.

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Barbara Farren, Rancho Palos Verdes

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To the editor: To read that California has two canine blood banks that warehouse dogs whose blood is drawn every 10-14 days is horrifying. Keeping dogs crated for up to 23 hours a day, as alleged by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, is disturbing, sad and unbelievable. This is torture.

I understand the need to have donated blood for dogs in need of transfusions, but hope the legislators trying to change the state’s laws will make sure there is sufficient land to build a sanctuary, so all dogs can be outside and and not be psychologically tortured. Volunteers can walk and feed the dogs, so drawing blood from them becomes less tortuous.

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It is time that California changes its standards on how blood-donating canines are cared for and stops allowing commercial blood banks to keep their records secret. The California Veterinary Medical Assn. should be ashamed for allowing this to continue when there are alternatives.

Judy R. Martin, Los Angeles

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